Why you should take ski lessons

by ericgu 13. October 2011 08:59

To be honest, I was bored. Bored with skiing.

Before you exclaim “inconceivable”, a bit of explanation is in order.

My wife and I took up skiing in our mid-20s, and having an athletic background, we looked for help. Our series of lessons with Martin at Snoqualmie Pass got us out on the slopes and able to ski their intermediate slopes, and in the years afterwards we went on a few ski vacations with friends. In that group, I thought I was fairly good; I’d been reading a few skiing books and working on technique, and from what I could tell I was better than average for the group.

I slowly progressed a bit more, so that I was able to ski blacks… as long as they were groomed blacks. I could see the skiers – the *good* skiers – skiing the ungrooomed snow, skiing the bumps. My attempts in those areas weren’t very successful; I’d end up traversing back and forth across mogul fields, and I’d still usually fall in the turns.

I was bored with what I could ski, and frustrated when I tried to ski other stuff.

And then something wondrous happened.

Our daughter got old enough to take ski lessons.

She did one season at Snoqualmie while we watched from the side and (gasp) shared a ticket. We learned two things that year; we didn’t like the instruction she was getting at that school, and we were very bored skiing the slopes at Snoqualmie.

So, it was back at Stevens for the next season. And we decided that we would make it a family thing and sign up for adult lessons at the same time. We checked out a few schools and chose Olympic because the program looked good and they had an end-of-season party.

The lessons I took gave me a whole new set of tools, and it took me to a lot of different places around the mountain. I progressed more that year in lessons than I had in the past 5 years of skiing. Over the next few years, I skied new areas. The long and steep bump runs off of 7th heaven. The steep but open runs off the backside. And then finally, Corona bowl (a steep bump run with a very tight entrance) on the backside, and double D (a run steep enough that the snow can’t create high bumps because it slides off).

And the boredom was gone. Stevens is a lot bigger when you can ski the steeps, or the trees between rock-n-blue and hoot.

That year, our instructor (one of the level 3 instructors who teaches for Olympic) suggested that if we wanted to keep progressing, we should consider become instructors with them.

And so we did, and a couple of years we’ve been teaching beginners, and attending some very good clinics.

Finding a School

There are lots of options for lessons. If you’re a beginner or intermediate, a series of lessons over a 6 or 8 week period is a great way to improve. If you’re an advanced skier, you’ll probably want to look for a specific camp – a one or two day lesson that is focused on a specific set of skills.

About the author

Eric Gunnerson is a Level 1 certified instructor who has been teaching level 2 students the past two years (yes, it’s confusing, there are 3 instructor levels but 9 skier levels), and is going to try for his level 2 this year. He teaches for Olympic Ski School at Stevens Pass.

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